Station Master on the Underground Railroad

The Life and Letters of Thomas Garrett, rev. ed.

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About the Book

Thomas Garrett, a Quaker from Wilmington, Delaware, had a genial disposition unless provoked to defend his strong anti-slavery beliefs. He believed strongly in the Underground Railroad and in helping slaves escape and chafed under the Quaker belief in non-violence. When he died in 1871, Wilmington’s black community saluted him as “their Moses.”
Station Master on the Underground Railroad was an important work in antebellum reform when it was first published in 1977. Author James McGowan disputed earlier arguments that white abolitionists were unified in their opposition to slavery and that they were largely responsible for the success of the Underground Railroad while the escaped slaves were helpless and frightened passengers who took advantage of a well-organized network. The present volume has been revised (in 2005) to include new information on Garrett’s relationship with Harriet Tubman and the abolitionist newspaper editor William Lloyd Garrison. Now published in paperback, the book also gives readers a new perspective on Thomas Garrett, recognizing his shortcomings as well as the uncompromising nature of his Quaker faith.

About the Author(s)

The late James A. McGowan appeared on Good Morning America, Evening Magazine, Philadelphia’s Prime Time and Visions. He won numerous awards throughout his career. He lived in Newtown, Pennsylvania.

Bibliographic Details

James A. McGowan
Foreword by William C. Kashatus
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 232
Bibliographic Info: 17 photos, appendices, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2009 [2005]
pISBN: 978-0-7864-4240-9
eISBN: 978-1-4766-2164-7
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Foreword by William C. Kashatus      1

Preface      5

1. The Underground Railroad      11

2. Early Accounts of Garrett’s Life      17

3. Upper Darby Ancestry      24

4. Quakers and Quakerism      28

5. The Road to Damascus      31

6. The Move to Wilmington      37

7. Wilmington      40

8. Rachel (Mendinhall) Garrett      46

9. The Trial of 1848      52

10. Thomas Garrett, the Man      82

11. How Important Was Thomas Garrett?      93

12. Thomas Garrett and Harriet Tubman      98

13. How Many Runaways Did Garrett Assist?      115

14. The End of the Line      129

15. Letters to William Still & J. Miller McKim      134

16. Letters to William Lloyd Garrison      154

17. Letters to Eliza Wigham & Mary Edmundson      162

18. Miscellaneous Letters      184

Appendix A: Thomas Garrett Genealogy      197

Appendix B: Letters from John Hunn to The Blue Hen’s Chicken      201

Appendix C: Letter from Thomas Garrett to The Blue Hen’s Chicken      207

Chapter Notes      211

Bibliography      217

Index      221